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Geotechnical Manual

August 2006
by Texas Department of Transportation
(512) 416-2055 all rights reserved
Manual Notice 2006-1
From: William R. Cox, P.E.

Manual: Geotechnical Manual

Effective Date: August 01, 2006

Purpose

The purpose of this manual is to guide the districts in conducting geotechnical investigation and
design for project development.

Changes

This revision restructures the manual to include and update policy and high-level procedures.

Recommendations, examples, and background information are now available on the Internet at
http://www.dot.state.tx.us/services/bridge/.

Contact

For more information about this update, contact the Bridge Division.

Archives

Past manual notices are collected in a pdf archive.


Contents
Chapter 1 Manual Overview
About this Manual . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-2
Purpose of the Manual . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-2
Updates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-2
Organization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-2
Feedback . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-3

Chapter 2 Soil Surveys


Soil Surveys . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-2
Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-2

Chapter 3 Field Operations


Drilling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3-2
Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3-2
Access . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3-2
Utility Clearance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3-2
Sampling Methods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3-4
Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3-4
Field Testing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3-5
Texas Cone Penetration (TCP) Test . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3-5
Standard Penetration Test (SPT) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3-5
In-Place Vane Shear Test. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3-5
Torvane and Pocket Penetrometer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3-5

Chapter 4 Soil and Bedrock Logging


Logging . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4-2
Material Order of Description . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4-2
Material . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4-2
Density or Consistency, Hardness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4-2
Moisture. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4-3
Color . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4-3
Cementation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4-3
Descriptive Adjectives. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4-3
Unified Soil Classification System (ASTM D2487) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4-3
Rock Quality Designation (RQD) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4-4
Log Form . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4-4

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Chapter 5 Foundation Design
Foundation Type Selection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5-2
Foundation Selection Factors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5-2
Foundation Guidelines for Widening Structures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5-3
Interpretation of Soil Data . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5-4
Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5-4
Disregard Depth. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5-4
Texas Cone Penetration Test . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5-4
Laboratory Test . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5-8
Drilled Shafts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5-9
Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5-9
Belled Shafts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5-9
Standing Water . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5-9
Service Loads. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5-10
Layout Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5-10
Piling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5-12
Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5-12
Service Loads. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5-12
Scour . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5-13
Analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5-13

Chapter 6 Retaining Walls


Retaining Wall Selection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6-2
Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6-2
Retaining Wall Layouts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6-3
General Content Layout. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6-3
Design Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6-7
General Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6-7
Design Criteria for Specific Wall Types . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6-7
Excavation Support . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6-13
Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6-13
Trench Excavation Protection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6-13
Temporary Special Shoring . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6-13

Chapter 7 Slope Stability


Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7-2
Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7-2
Analysis and Design. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7-3
Global Stability Analysis. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7-3

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Chapter 1
Manual Overview

Contents:
Section 1 About this Manual

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Chapter 1 Manual Overview Section 1 About this Manual

Section 1
About this Manual

Purpose of the Manual


The purpose of this manual is to guide districts in geotechnical investigation and design for project
development. Recommendations, background information, and examples are available on the
TxDOT web site at: http://www.dot.state.tx.us/services/bridge/.

Updates

Updates to this manual are summarized in the following table.


Manual Revision History

Version Publication Date Summary of Changes

2000-1 August 2000 New Manual

2006-1 August 2006 Revision restructuring the manual to include policy and high-
level procedures, with recommendations, examples, and back-
ground information now available on the Internet at http://
www.dot.state.tx.us/services/bridge/.

Organization

Information in this manual is organized into the following chapters:


1. Manual Overview. Introductory information on the purpose and organization of the manual.
2. Soil Surveys. Requirements for conducting soil surveys for projects with bridges, retaining
walls, slopes and embankments, sign structures, illumination, sound walls, and radio towers.
3. Field Operations. Requirements for drilling, sampling, and field testing.
4. Soil and Bedrock Logging. Description of material order, level of description, and
classification.
5. Foundation Design. Guidelines for selecting foundation types, drilled shafts, piling, and
requirements for scour analysis.
6. Retaining Walls. Requirements for retaining wall selection, layouts, design, and excavaton
support.
7. Slope Stability. Requirements for slope stability design and analysis.

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Chapter 1 Manual Overview Section 1 About this Manual

Feedback

Direct any questions or comments on the content of this manual to the Director of the Bridge Divi-
sion, Texas Department of Transportation.

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Chapter 2
Soil Surveys

Contents:
Section 1 Soil Surveys

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Chapter 2 Soil Surveys Section 1 Soil Surveys

Section 1
Soil Surveys

Overview

Conduct soil surveys for projects with the following features:


Bridges
Retaining walls
Slopes and embankments
Sign structures
Illumination
Sound walls
Radio towers

Minimum required testing for all structures includes Texas Cone Penetration (TCP) testing at 5-ft.
intervals as well as Rock Quality Designation (RQD) and percent recovery in rock. See Chapter 2
for requirements for all explorations.

Review of Existing Data

Review all existing data before determining new data requirements. Old bridge plans are the most
common source of information. Old borings containing strength data are usually adequate for new
construction. If old borings are used for design, show the old boring data on the plans, and note the
date of the boring. Old TCP data may have an additional value listed: the weight of the drill stem
when the test was performed. You can ignore this number and need not show it if the old borings
will be shown in the new plans.

Hole Location

The complexity of geological conditions and the type, length, and width of a structure determine
the number of holes required for foundation exploration.

Locate the test holes in an accessible area. When determining the location of test holes, always
avoid overhead power lines and underground utilities. If possible, avoid steep slopes and standing
or flowing water. Deviations within a 20-ft. radius of the staked location are not usually excessive,
but note them on the logs and obtain the correct surface elevation.

When determining the location and depth of test holes, carefully consider the following factors:
Test hole depth

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Chapter 2 Soil Surveys Section 1 Soil Surveys

Lowering of gradeline
Channel relocations and channel widenings
Scour
Foundation loads
Foundation type

Bridges

The following figure shows the minimum number of test holes for common types of bridge struc-
tures. Try not to space test holes more than 300 ft. apart.

Figure 2-1. Minimum number of test holes for common types of structures

In general, drill test holes 15 to 20 ft. deeper than the probable tip elevation of the foundation. Esti-
mate the probable founding or tip elevation from the results of Texas Cone Penetration tests and
correlation graphs in Chapter 5, Texas Cone Penetration Test, and experience with foundation
conditions in the area. Pay special attention to major structures where high foundation loads are
expected. If the depth of the boring is questionable, consult the Bridge Division for a detailed anal-
ysis of the projected foundation loads and foundation capacities.

Stream Crossings. Structures over channels less than 200 ft. wide are classified as minor stream
crossings. For these crossings, a boring on each bank as close to the waters edge as possible is suf-

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Chapter 2 Soil Surveys Section 1 Soil Surveys

ficient. If boring information varies significantly from one side of the channel to the other, a boring
in the channel may be necessary.

Major stream crossings require core borings in the channel if no existing data is available. A site
inspection by the driller or logger is necessary to evaluate site accessibility and special equipment
needs.

Grade Separations. If the structure borings indicate soft surface soils (fewer than 10 blows per
foot), additional borings and testing may be required for the bridge approach embankments.

Bridge Field Exploration. The exploration should include the following:


Test hole spacing. Test holes near each abutment of the proposed structure plus a sufficient
number of intermediate holes to determine the depth and location of all significant soil and
rock strata. If you do not get a reasonable correlation between borings (for example, TCP data,
stratigraphy), consult with the project engineer to determine the need for additional holes.
Texas Cone Penetration tests. Conduct Texas Cone Penetration tests at 5-ft. intervals beginning
at a 5-ft. depth. Standard penetration test data is not acceptable for foundation design.
Upper soil layer test. Test soft upper soil layers as directed under the section in this chapter
titled Slopes and Embankments.
Soil and bedrock classification. Fill out a complete soil and bedrock classification and log
record for each test hole on the standard log, including all information to complete the form.
Ground water. Include ground water elevation measurements as part of the data acquisition.
Site conditions may require installation of piezometers to establish a true ground water surface
elevation and method of monitoring water surface fluctuations.

Retaining Walls

Obtain soil core borings for walls taller than 10 ft. Evaluate walls shorter than 10 ft. on a case-by-
case basis. For most soils, TCP testing alone is adequate to design walls and evaluate wall stability.

Soil Borings. Obtain soil borings at 200-ft. spacing unless site conditions or the wall designer
requires tighter or coarser spacing.

Boring Depth for Fill Walls. For MSE walls, spread footing walls, temporary earth walls, and
block walls, the depth of boring should be as deep as the height of the wall depending on wall type
and existing and proposed ground lines. The minimum boring depth is 15 ft. below the bottom of
the wall unless rock is encountered. Extending borings 5 ft. into rock for fill walls is usually
adequate.

Boring Depth for Cut Walls. For drilled shaft walls, tied-back walls, and soil and rock nail walls,
always base the depth of boring on the final grade lines. Cantilever drilled shaft walls require the

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Chapter 2 Soil Surveys Section 1 Soil Surveys

depth of boring to extend the anticipated depth of the shaft below the cut, which is typically
between one and two times the height of the wall. Borings for soil nail and rock nailed walls need
to be advanced through the material that is to be nailed. Borings should extend a minimum of 20-ft.
below the bottom of the proposed wall. Borings for cut walls may need to penetrate rock significant
distances depending on the depth of the cut and height of the wall.

Soil Samples and Testing. Provide additional testing for taller walls, walls on slopes, or walls on
soft foundations as necessary to completely evaluate wall stability. Additional testing includes but
is not limited to obtaining samples for consolidation testing, triaxial testing, or in-place shear test-
ing to determine soil strength. Consult with the wall designer for development of the complete soil
exploration plan.

Ground Water. Include ground water elevation measurements as part of the data acquisition for
retaining walls. Site conditions may require the installation of piezometers to establish a true
ground water surface elevation and method of monitoring water surface fluctuations.

Other Structures

Conduct foundation investigations for high-mast illumination, radio towers, and overhead sign
structures when other borings are not located nearby. The typical depth of the boring ranges from
30 to 50 ft. but depends on existing and proposed ground lines, soil consistency, and structure
loading.

Slopes and Embankments

Soil Core Borings. Obtain soil core borings for cuts greater than 10 ft. or embankments taller than
15 ft. in areas with suspect foundation soils (less than or equal to 10 blows/ft.). For most soils,
Texas Cone Penetration testing alone is adequate.

The exploration should include the following:


The soil under future embankments. Advance borings to a depth equal to the height of the
embankment or 20 ft., whichever is greater. Conduct Texas Cone Penetration testing at 5-ft.
intervals.
Soil in proposed cuts. Advance borings to a depth of 15 ft. below the bottom of the proposed
cut. Conduct Texas Cone Penetration testing at 5-ft. intervals.
Ground water elevation measurements. Include ground water elevation measurements as part
of the data acquisition for slopes and embankments. Site conditions may require installation of
piezometers to establish a true ground water surface elevation and method of monitoring sur-
face fluctuations.

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Chapter 2 Soil Surveys Section 1 Soil Surveys

Soil Testing. Perform the appropriate field and laboratory tests necessary to determine the soil shear
strength for proper soil evaluation. The designer must consider both the short-term and long-term
conditions:
Short-term conditions. Use the Texas Cone Penetration test, in-place vane shear tests, triaxial
tests (UU), and or direct shear tests.
Long-term conditions. Use consolidated undrained triaxial tests (r-bar) and/or drained direct
shear tests.

Estimate long-term strengths of clay soils based on the index properties of the soil. Use the follow-
ing figure to correlate Texas Cone Penetration test results to angle of internal friction for
cohesionless soil.

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Chapter 2 Soil Surveys Section 1 Soil Surveys

Figure 2-2. TCP vs. Angle of Internal Friction for Cohesionless Soils

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Chapter 3
Field Operations

Contents:
Section 1 Drilling
Section 2 Sampling Methods
Section 3 Field Testing

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Chapter 3 Field Operations Section 1 Drilling

Section 1
Drilling

Overview

Consider the following items before starting core drill operations:


Core drill equipment
Drill rig
Site preparation
Access
Utility clearance
Traffic control
Barge work
Drill hole filling

Access

Ensure that permission to enter private property has been secured before drilling.

Utility Clearance

All locations proposed for drilling must be cleared for utilities before the core drill team arrives.
When utilities are present, their exact location should be clearly marked by the utility company.

The number to phone for utility clearance is 1-800-545-6005. Calls to this number automatically
rotate to the three notification centers. Obtain utility clearance at least 48 hours and no more than
14 days before starting core drilling. The three notification centers may be contacted directly as
follows:
Texas Excavation Safety System (TESS) 1-800-344-8377
Lone Star Notification Center 1-800-669-8344
Texas One Call 1-800-245-4545

Traffic Control

Provide traffic control in accordance with Texas Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices.

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Chapter 3 Field Operations Section 1 Drilling

Drill Hole Filling

Drill holes must be filled or plugged to prevent injury to livestock or people in the area and to min-
imize the entry of surface water into the bore hole. If surface contamination of lower aquifers or
cross contamination is a concern, backfill the hole with bentonite pellets or grout. This is especially
important in urban areas where ground contamination from leaking underground storage tanks is
common.

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Chapter 3 Field Operations Section 2 Sampling Methods

Section 2
Sampling Methods

Overview

Use appropriate sampling methods as dictated by field conditions and laboratory tests. Provide con-
tinuous sampling between Texas Cone Penetration testing for visual classification when drilling
methods allow.

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Chapter 3 Field Operations Section 3 Field Testing

Section 3
Field Testing

Texas Cone Penetration (TCP) Test

Conduct TCP testing in accordance with test procedure TEX 132-E Texas Cone Penetration Test.
Ensure that the drill rig mobilized to the drill site is equipped with test equipment that conforms to
the test procedure. Use a hammer with an automated trip mechanism to regulate the fall of the ham-
mer to 24 in. plus or minus 1/2 in.

TCP values described in this manual are either the total number of blows necessary to drive the
cone 12 in. or the distance the cone advances in inches in 100 blows.

Standard Penetration Test (SPT)

The general use of the SPT for foundation exploration is not acceptable.

In-Place Vane Shear Test

Use the in-place vane shear test to determine the in-place shearing strength of fine-grained soil,
which does not lend itself to undisturbed sampling and triaxial testing. Use this test when encoun-
tering organic silty clay (muck) or very soft clay. These materials, however, must be free of gravel
or large shell particles because pushing the vanes through these obstructions would disturb the sam-
ple and probably cause physical damage to the vanes. Use the test with extreme caution in soil that
has Texas Cone Penetration values harder than 15 blows/12 in.

Torvane and Pocket Penetrometer

These two test devices are useful for index and classification purposes. They yield only approxi-
mate information and are not suitable for foundation design.

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Chapter 4
Soil and Bedrock Logging

Contents:
Section 1 Logging

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Chapter 4 Soil and Bedrock Logging Section 1 Logging

Section 1
Logging

Material Order of Description

Keep core descriptions as simple as possible. The order of description is as follows:


1. Material
2. Density or consistency, hardness
3. Moisture
4. Color
5. Cementation
6. Descriptive adjectives
7. Unified Soil Classification System
8. Rock Quality Designation (RQD), percent recovery

Material

Keep the number of strata to a minimum. Remember that every small variation in a soilsuch as a
change in clay from slightly sandy to sandydoes not necessarily warrant a strata change. The
logger must define strata that have significance to designers and contractors who will use the core
log information. Designers and contractors are mainly interested in the primary and secondary soil
or rock constituent and whether ground water is present.

Density or Consistency, Hardness

Use the following charts to determine the density or consistency and hardness of material
encountered.
Soil Density or Consistency

Density Consistency
(Cohesionless) (Cohesive) TCP Values Field Identification

Very loose Very soft 0 to 8 Core (height twice diameter) sags under own weight

Loose Soft 8 to 20 Core can be pinched or imprinted easily with finger

Slightly compact Stiff 20 to 40 Core can be imprinted with considerable pressure

Compact Very stiff 40 to 80 Core can be imprinted only slightly with fingers

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Chapter 4 Soil and Bedrock Logging Section 1 Logging

Soil Density or Consistency

Density Consistency
(Cohesionless) (Cohesive) TCP Values Field Identification

Dense Hard 80 to 5 in./100 Core cannot be imprinted with fingers but can be
penetrated with pencil

Very dense Very hard 0 in. to 5 in./100 Core cannot be penetrated with pencil

Bedrock Hardness

Mohs
Hardness Approximate TCP
Scale Characteristics Examples Hardness Values

5.5 to 10 Rock will scratch knife Sandstone, chert, schist, granite, Very hard 0 in. to 2 in./100
gneiss, some limestone

3 to 5.5 Rock can be scratched with Siltstone, shale, iron deposits, most Hard 1 in. to 5 in./100
knife blade limestone

1 to 3 Rock can be scratched with Gypsum, calcite, evaporites, chalk, Soft 4 in. to 6 in./100
fingernail some shale

Moisture

If any moisture exists, note the extent present. The samples will be assumed dry if the degree of
moisture is not indicated. If free water is present, describe the soil as wet or water-bearing.

Color

Describe the primary color, and restrict description to one color. If one main color does not exist in
a sample, call it multicolored.

Cementation

Identify the degree of cementation if any is present.

Descriptive Adjectives

Use any descriptive adjectives that might further aid in the description.

Unified Soil Classification System (ASTM D2487)

This soil system is based on the recognition of the type and predominance of the constituents con-
sidering grain size, gradation, plasticity index, and liquid limit. It contains three major divisions of

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Chapter 4 Soil and Bedrock Logging Section 1 Logging

soil: coarse-grained, fine-grained, and highly organic. See ASTM D2487, Standard Practice for
Classification of Soils for Engineering Purposes (Unified Soil Classification System), for the pro-
cedure for determining soil classification.

Rock Quality Designation (RQD)

Determine the RQD for rock core samples following ASTM Test Procedure D6032-02, Standard
Test Method for Determining Rock Quality Designation (RQD) of Rock Core. Always note the
RQD and percent recovery on logs of borings where rock is encountered.

Log Form

For uniformity, use the standard log form 513, Drilling Log. (Access to this internal web site is
available only to TxDOT personnel.)

. Group the materials encountered into strata consisting of the same or similar constituents.

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Chapter 5
Foundation Design

Contents:
Section 1 Foundation Type Selection
Section 2 Interpretation of Soil Data
Section 3 Drilled Shafts
Section 4 Piling
Section 5 Scour

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Chapter 5 Foundation Design Section 1 Foundation Type Selection

Section 1
Foundation Type Selection

Foundation Selection Factors

The designer is responsible for selecting the appropriate bridge foundation. Consider the following
factors in that selection:
Design load. The magnitude of the design load dictates the required size of the foundation
from a structural standpoint.
Subsurface formations. The depth and strength of subsurface formations determine the type of
foundation chosen. In general, drilled shafts are well suited to areas with competent soil and
rock. While drilled shafts have been successfully installed in soft soil, they may be less effi-
cient than piling. In general, use piling where softer soil is present. Very hard material at or
near the surface makes driven pile installation difficult.
Corrosive conditions. Salts, chlorides, and sulfates are detrimental to foundations. Where these
conditions exist, take preventive measures. Use sulfate-resistant concrete as defined in Stan-
dard Specification Item 421 for construction in seawater or high sulfate areas of Texas as
shown in internet map depicting known areas of possible corrosion due to sulfate soil or salt
water.
Economic considerations. Economics is considered in the final selection. Compare the founda-
tion types. The cost of a drilled shaft foundation, for instance, may be less than piling. It may
be feasible to use fewer piles at higher design loads, or fewer drilled shafts with larger diame-
ters to maximize economy. If no clear economic difference exists between piling and drilled
shafts, you may choose to include both and offer the contractor alternate designs in the contract
plans.
Superstructure type. The type of superstructure chosen for the bridges may dictate or eliminate
certain foundation types. For instance, short-span structures over streams may work well with
trestle piling, but tall, single column flyovers justify footings with multiple shafts or piling.
Special design requirements. Special designs are sometimes necessary to straddle another
structure or utilities and may require a different type of foundation than the rest of the
structure.

Foundations of new bridges should be designed as either drilled shafts or piling. Study all the avail-
able soil data, and choose the type of foundation most suitable to the existing soil conditions and
the particular structure.

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Chapter 5 Foundation Design Section 1 Foundation Type Selection

Foundation Guidelines for Widening Structures

Study test-boring data along with any available information regarding the existing foundation. Usu-
ally, old test-boring data is adequate for widening the structure. In widening structures, consider
special designs to prevent differential movement between the new and the old foundations. This is
normally accomplished by founding the new foundations at approximately the same elevation as
the existing foundations. Avoid the use of piling in widening structures founded on spread footings.

Widening Structures on Piling. Widen structures on piling with piling tipped in the same stratum.
If loads for piling supporting the widened portion of the structure are the same or lower than loads
for the original construction, tip the new piling at the same elevation as the existing piling. If new
loads are higher, longer or larger piling may be required. Avoid extreme variations between the new
and existing tip elevations to minimize differential movement.

Widening Structures on Drilled Shafts. Widen structures on shafts with shafts at approximately
the same tip elevations. Often existing structures with belled shafts may be widened with straight
shafts tipped at the same elevation due to current higher allowable soil design loads and use of skin
friction in drilled shaft design.

Widening Structures on Spread Footings. The most critical situation occurs when widening a
structure founded on spread footings. If the existing footings are less than 6 ft. below natural
ground, it may be desirable to widen with spread footings at the same elevation. For abutment and
interior bents on deep spread footings, widening with drilled shafts is usually more economical
with the shafts founded near the existing footing elevation. This is not always practical, as in the
case of widening a structure on spread footings with drilled shafts. In a case like this, evaluate the
soil for shrink/swell potential.

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Chapter 5 Foundation Design Section 2 Interpretation of Soil Data

Section 2
Interpretation of Soil Data

Overview

A critical step in foundation design is determining strata and reasonable strengths to be assigned to
each stratum. Divide the subsurface materials into strata based on material description and test val-
ues. Review all tests within each stratum to evaluate the variability of the data. If a single,
unusually high strength test is present among a group of distinctly lower test values, disregard the
anomalous test value. An average strength may be assigned for an entire layer as long as the test
values are reasonably similar.

Avoid defining very thick strata with widely variable test values. Subdivide thick strata with test
values varying from soft near the top to distinctly harder toward the bottom into two or more strata
with compatible values. Failure to subdivide may result in an unconservative average strength
being applied to foundations that terminate in the upper zone of that stratum.

An acceptable option to producing average unit values for strata is to calculate using a more rigor-
ous, test-by-test basis.

Disregard Depth

Disregard surface soil in the design of drilled shafts and piling foundations. The disregarded depth
is the amount of surface soil that is not included in the design of the foundation due to potential ero-
sion from scour, future excavation, seasonal soil moisture variation (shrinkage and swelling),
lateral migration of waterways, and other factors. Generally a minimum amount of 5 ft. is disre-
garded over non-water crossings and 10 ft. over stream crossings. For abutments, disregard the
portion of foundation passing through embankment fills.

Texas Cone Penetration Test

Use the following charts to determine skin friction and point-bearing capacity based on Texas Cone
Penetration data for drilled shaft and piling designs. Use the following figure to determine allow-
able skin friction for soil softer than 100 blows/12 in. Select the curve based on the description of
the soil type.

Use the CH curve in clay soil identified as high-plasticity, or fat clay. Use the CL curve in clay soil
identified as low-plasticity, or lean clay. In clay soil, use the CL curve if no specific identification is
provided regarding plasticity. Use the SC curve for soil described as either sandy clay or clayey
sand. Use the OTHER curve for soils described as silt, sand, or gravel.

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Chapter 5 Foundation Design Section 2 Interpretation of Soil Data

For drilled shaft designs, multiply the allowable design stress by a reduction factor of 0.7. The
reduction factor is used to account for disturbance of the soil during drilling. Do not apply the
reduction factor to piling designs.

Figure 5-1. Allowable Skin Friction (TCP Values Softer than 100 Blows/12 in.)

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Chapter 5 Foundation Design Section 2 Interpretation of Soil Data

Use the following figure to determine allowable point bearing for soil softer than 100 blows/12 in.
Select the curve based on the description of the soil type, using the criteria noted for the previous
chart.

Figure 5-2. Allowable Point Bearing (TCP Values Softer than 100 Blows/12 in.)

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Chapter 5 Foundation Design Section 2 Interpretation of Soil Data

Use the following figure to determine allowable skin friction for soil harder than 100 blows/12 in.
Do not apply skin friction reduction factor to values obtained from this figure because this figure is
derived only for use in drilled shaft design. Piling typically cannot be driven into soil of this
strength, so this figure is not generally used for piling design.

Figure 5-3. Allowable Skin Friction (TCP Values Harder than 100 Blows/12 in.)

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Chapter 5 Foundation Design Section 2 Interpretation of Soil Data

Use the following figure to determine allowable point bearing for soil harder than 100 blows/12 in.

Figure 5-4. Allowable Point Bearing (TCP Values Harder than 100 Blows/12 in.)

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Chapter 5 Foundation Design Section 2 Interpretation of Soil Data

Laboratory Test

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Chapter 5 Foundation Design Section 3 Drilled Shafts

Section 3
Drilled Shafts

Overview

Drilled shaft design should consider both skin friction and point bearing. Calculate total allowable
skin friction by multiplying the perimeter of the shaft by the unit value for allowable skin friction
derived from Figure 5-1, Figure 5-3, or laboratory data or any combination thereof. Apply a reduc-
tion factor of 0.7 to allowable skin friction values derived from Figure 5-1 or from laboratory
testing. Do not apply the reduction factor to allowable skin friction values obtained from Figure 5-
3. Accumulate skin friction along the length of the shaft beginning at the previously defined disre-
gard depth and continuing down to the tip of the shaft. Calculate total allowable point bearing by
multiplying the area of the drilled shaft times the unit value for allowable point bearing derived
from Figure 5-2, Figure 5-4, or laboratory data. If softer layers exist within two shaft diameters of
the proposed tip, use allowable point bearing values for the softer layers. If drilled shafts are to be
tipped in very hard material that is overlain by soft strata, the skin friction contribution of the softer
strata may be disregarded in design. However, do not ignore the contribution of significant amounts
of competent material in order to tip in rock. In many areas of the state, rock is overlain by thick
layers of material that can support considerable loads.

Belled Shafts

Avoid using belled shafts for bridge foundation designs. Bells require special tools and techniques
to construct and are difficult to inspect.

Standing Water

Drilled shafts installed in lakes or rivers require use of a casing placed from above the water surface
to a minimum embedment into the river or lake bottom. Do not define the top of the drilled shaft in
the normal manner (a set distance below finished grade). Define the top of the drilled shaft as 1 to 2
ft. above the normal water elevation. If the water level is variable, add a provision allowing the top
of the drilled shaft to be adjusted based on water level at the time of construction. Allow casing
required for construction to remain in place at the option of the contractor. Typically, casings left in
place look no worse than the stained concrete shaft that will be visible if casings are removed. If
casing is to be left in place, disregard skin friction along the length of the casing.

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Chapter 5 Foundation Design Section 3 Drilled Shafts

Service Loads

See the following table for maximum drilled shaft service loads recommended without conducting
a detailed structural analysis. Before final structural design, review the soil information to verify
the ability of the foundation to develop desired loads.
Maximum Allowable Drilled Shaft Service

Size Load

30 in. 275 tons

36 in. 400 tons

42 in. 525 tons

48 in. 700 tons

54 in. 900 tons

60 in. 1,100 tons

Layout Notes

When drilled shaft capacity depends heavily on penetrating a specific hard layer, add a plan note
instructing the contractor and field personnel of the penetration requirement. If no specific penetra-
tion into a hard layer is required, no plan note is necessary:
Hard layer at depth: When a hard layer is expected to be present more than three shaft diame-
ters below the surface, specify a minimum penetration of one shaft diameter on the plans.
Increase this minimum penetration if additional skin friction is required to fulfill the design
requirements. A typical note on bridge layouts reads, Drilled shaft shall be founded a mini-
mum of one shaft diameter into hard rock. Expand the word rock to distinguish the type of
material anticipated. This note allows a drilled shaft to be shortened if rock is encountered at
higher than anticipated elevations, and it requires the shaft to be lengthened if rock is not
encountered where expected.
Rock at surface: When rock is present at or near the surface, consider load-carrying capacity
along with the stability of the superstructure on the foundation. For these shafts, a minimum
shaft length of three shaft diameters is recommended. That is, a minimum three-diameter shaft
length, not a three-diameter penetration into rock. A typical note on bridge layouts reads,
Drilled shaft shall be founded at the elevations shown or deeper as necessary to obtain a min-
imum of one shaft diameter penetration into hard rock. Expand the word rock to distinguish
the type of rock. This note does not allow a drilled shaft to be shortened from plan length, but
it does require lengthening if rock is not encountered at the expected elevation.

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Chapter 5 Foundation Design Section 3 Drilled Shafts

Plan notes should be specific as to the type of material to be penetrated. If more than one material is
likely to be encountered, it is acceptable to have multiple descriptions, such as into dense sand,
sandstone, and/or shale. Avoid using vague terms such as hard strata or founding material.

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Chapter 5 Foundation Design Section 4 Piling

Section 4
Piling

Overview

Piling design should consider skin friction and may consider point bearing as well. Because piling
has small tip areas and is generally placed in softer soil, the point bearing contribution is modest
and is often disregarded in design.

Calculate total allowable skin friction by multiplying the perimeter of the pile by the unit value for
allowable skin friction derived from Figure 5-1, Figure 5-3, or laboratory data or a combination
thereof. The maximum recommended value for allowable skin friction for piling design is 1.4 tons
per square foot (TSF). Accumulate skin friction along the length of the pile beginning at the previ-
ously defined disregard depth and continuing down to the tip of the pile. If using point bearing,
calculate total allowable point bearing by multiplying the area of the pile times the unit value for
allowable point bearing derived from Figure 5-2, Figure 5-4, or laboratory data. If softer layers
exist within two shaft diameters of the proposed tip, use allowable point bearing values based on
the softer layers. Displacement piling refuses to advance when it encounters material with TCP val-
ues harder than 100 blows/12 in. On refusal, assume that the piling has developed the maximum
allowable service load for the pile.

Take care when designing piling in areas with shallow hard or dense soils. If piling cannot be
driven through these areas, the contractor will need to pilot hole or jet the piling to achieve the
desired penetration.

Service Loads

See the following table for maximum piling length and structural loads recommended without con-
ducting a detailed structural analysis. Many soils are not capable of developing these maximum
loads. Before final structural design, review the soil information to verify the ability of the founda-
tion to develop desired maximum loads.
Maximum Allowable Pile Service Loads

Abutments and
Size Maximum Length Trestle Bents Footings (per Pile)

16 in. 85 ft. 75 ton 125 tons

18 in. 95 ft. 90 tons 175 tons

20 in. 105 ft. 110 tons 225 tons

24 in. 125 ft. 140 tons 300 tons

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Chapter 5 Foundation Design Section 5 Scour

Section 5
Scour

Analysis

Bridge foundations for new bridges over waterways require a scour analysis. Conduct scour analy-
ses in accordance with the following:
Guidelines outlined in Evaluating Scour at Bridges (HEC-18).
Abutment scour does not need to be calculated because none of the equations to date yield
acceptable results. Protect abutments against potential scour through use of a flexible revet-
ment, where possible.

Design bridge foundations to withstand the scour depths for either the 100-year flood or a smaller
flood if it will cause scour depths deeper than the 100-year flood.

Check the bridge foundations against the scour depth associated with the 500-year flood. This flood
event is treated as an extreme event and the factor of safety on the bridge foundations should be
greater than or equal to 1 (bridge foundation factor of safety is required to be FS>1).

Evaluate existing bridge foundations for potential scour using the guidelines outlined in either of
the following:
Evaluating Scour at Bridges (HEC-18)
Texas Secondary Evaluation and Analysis for Scour (TSEAS, 1993)

Determine scour at bridges using the following guidelines:


Use the following table to determine susceptibility of competent rock to scour when it is
present at moderate to shallow depths. Consider materials deemed either not susceptible or
mildly susceptible to scour the limit of the maximum scour depth.
Material Susceptibility to Scour

Material Subtype TCP Values Susceptibility

Rock Hard (granite, lime- < 4 in./100 blows Not susceptible


stone, shale)

. Soft (shale) < 12 in./100 blows Mildly susceptible but


not considered over time
span of one flood event

Clays Hard (redbed, shaley < 12 in./100 blows Mildly susceptible but
clays, very stiff clays) not considered over time
span of one flood event

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Chapter 5 Foundation Design Section 5 Scour

Material Susceptibility to Scour

Material Subtype TCP Values Susceptibility

. Soft to medium > 12 in./100 blows Susceptible to scour at a


moderate rate

Sands All All Very susceptible

Monitor shales and stiff clays for long-term degradation. Shales and stiff clays tend to break down
and disintegrate when exposed to repeated wetting and drying, a major problem in northeast Texas
where head cutting in the Sulphur River basin has resulted in the channels down-cutting into the
shale. The typical rate of degradation of shale in this situation is on the order of inches per year. As
a result, most shales and stiff clays are not considered susceptible to scour during a single flood
event. Consider long-term history of channel cross sections when evaluating these materials.
For channels in cohesionless materials, such as sand and gravel, calculate contraction and pier
scour using the following methods:
z Contraction scour: use the equations in HEC-18
z Pier scour: use either the equations in HEC-18 or Froelichs Equation
For channels in cohesive materials, such as clay, calculate contraction and pier scour using one
of the following methods:
z Limit d50 to 4 x 10-3 in. (3.33 x 10-4 ft.). For contraction scour, use the equations in HEC-
18. For pier scour, use the equations in HEC-18 with a reduction factor of 0.5 for soils
with 11% or more clay.
z Use the SCRICOS Method.
z Use Annandales Erodability Index Method
For channels in layered soil, calculate scour using one of the following methods:
Conduct a scour analysis layer by layer using the equations specified above for individual lay-
ers. If the scour analysis indicates a value that is greater than the thickness of the layer, remove
that layer and recalculate the hydraulic variables. Then continue the scour analysis with the
next layer.
Use the SCRICOS Method.
Use Annandales Erodability Index Method.

Because of conservatism built into equations for calculating scour and limitations and gaps in exist-
ing knowledge, apply engineering judgment when using results from scour computations.

Before using the scour analysis for bridge foundation design, check the scour predictions to ensure:
That the scour calculations account for layered soil/rock profiles.

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Chapter 5 Foundation Design Section 5 Scour

That the scour calculations account for the soil/rock properties (that is, clay, silt, sand, gravel,
rock, etc.)
That the predicted scour do not extend into competent rock.
That the predicted scour depths are not added onto the foundation design lengths.

Determine if the scour predictions exceed the foundation disregard depth. If so, use the following to
evaluate the scour predictions:
Performance of the existing structure during past floods (compare historic data of cross section
changes at the bridge with the scour predictions).
Hydrologic characteristics and flood history of the stream and similar streams.
Recalculation of the scour analysis using a step-wise procedure that incrementally removes
material and recalculates the required hydraulic variables. This may decrease the total scour
depth.

In general, scour predictions should not control foundation design because TxDOT uses deep foun-
dations. An exception is large rivers, especially those with sand channels.

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Chapter 6
Retaining Walls

Contents:
Section 1 Retaining Wall Selection
Section 2 Retaining Wall Layouts
Section 3 Design Considerations
Section 4 Excavation Support

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Chapter 6 Retaining Walls Section 1 Retaining Wall Selection

Section 1
Retaining Wall Selection

Overview

The project engineer who seals the plans is responsible for ensuring that the retaining wall selected
for a given location is appropriate. Use the following criteria to choose a retaining wall:
Geometry. Determine applicability of wall typecut, cut/fill, or fillbased on geometry, site
constraints, and wall alignment and location. Identify available right of way. Identify location
and type of existing and proposed utilities. Identify location and type of existing and proposed
drainage structures.
Economics. Evaluate the total cost of wall, including needed excavation shoring. Identify
required utility adjustments and costs. Identify project schedule, phasing requirements, and
effect on wall construction and design.
Stability. Evaluate all walls to ensure that minimum factors of safety are met. When possible,
avoid placing walls on slopes. A slope in front of the wall dramatically reduces passive earth
pressure (resistance), increasing the chance of wall failure. For situations where walls above a
slope cannot be avoided, conduct a rigorous stability analysis following conditions identified
in the Design Considerations section of this chapter.
Constructibility. Determine whether walls are near water or subject to inundation. Identify
access limitations for equipment. Ensure adequate horizontal and vertical clearances are pro-
vided for installation of retaining wall types, particularly tied-back, nailed, and drilled shaft
walls.
Aesthetics. Ensure that the aesthetic treatment of the wall complements the retaining wall and
does not disrupt the functionality or selection of wall type. Be careful with aesthetic treatments
that involve landscaping: design additional drainage measures if extensive watering is antici-
pated to prevent excessive hydrostatic pressures from building up behind the wall.

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Chapter 6 Retaining Walls Section 2 Retaining Wall Layouts

Section 2
Retaining Wall Layouts

General Content Layout

In general, retaining wall layouts include the following information.


Plan View. The plan view should contain the following items:
z Beginning and ending wall points by station, offset, and roadway alignment
z Additional points as necessary to describe the relationship of wall alignment to roadway
alignment(s)
z Indication of which side is the face of the wall
z Horizontal curve information if applicable for wall alignment
z Location of soil borings (Include boring name, station, offset, and top-of-hole elevation.)
z Signing, lighting, etc., mounted on or passing through wall (Designate and locate the
sheets that contain information for these elements.)
z Surface and subsurface drainage structures or utilities that could affect or be affected by
wall construction (Designate and locate the sheets that contain information on the struc-
ture or utilities.)
Elevation view. The elevation view should contain the following items:
z Existing ground line along wall alignment
z Proposed finished grade line at face of wall
z Bottom of wall for payment
z Top of retaining wall grade line (Does not include the top of rail.)
z Soil boring information where possible, shown at the correct elevation and scale
z Designation for Back Face of Wall when back of wall is shown
z Panel numbers when applicable
z Drainage, signing, lighting, etc., as noted above
z Drainage structures and utilities as noted above
Estimated quantity table. Include the estimated quantity table for each retaining wall type.
Refer to a specific wall type for list of bid codes. The estimated quantity table should contain
the following items:
z Area of retaining wall
z Linear footage of railing on wall
z Miscellaneous quantities associated with wall (riprap, etc.)
Typical section. A typical section should contain the following information:

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Chapter 6 Retaining Walls Section 2 Retaining Wall Layouts

z Cross section showing the relationship of the wall to the roadway


z Control point for horizontal and vertical alignment, typically shown at the top outermost
corner of the wall
z Indication of maximum slope on top of and in front of wall
z Location of proposed finished grade
z Railing type, flume, mow strip, etc., if applicable
General notes. The general notes should include the following information:
z A note stating the required embedment length if the specified embedment is greater than 1
ft., as well as a note stating that the wall is measured between top of wall and X ft.
below finished grade
z Reference to all applicable standard sheets for pertinent information
z Other pertinent information regarding wall design and construction

Plans for Specific Wall Types

For specific retaining wall types, include the following additional information on the layout and in
the plan set.

Spread Footing Walls. For spread footing walls, include the following additional information:
Panel design designation (for example, LC-10-32) for each panel corresponding to the appro-
priate cast-in-place spread footing wall standard sheet. The designation includes a reference to
the controlling standard drawing, design height, and panel width information.
Location of expansion and construction joints (Assuming 32-ft. panels, every third joint is typ-
ically designated as an expansion joint.)
Set bottom of wall (top of footing) horizontal and stepped to meet minimum embedment crite-
ria. (Distance from one step to the next is typically greater than 6 in. Provide bottom of wall
elevations for all panels.)
Appropriate standard sheets pertaining to cast-in-place spread footing walls

Designate all information necessary for the contractor to construct the wall on retaining wall lay-
outs for spread footing walls. This type of wall does not have a proprietary vendor to provide shop
drawings, so the plan set must be complete with details.

Mechanically Stabilized Earth (MSE) Walls. For MSE walls, include the following additional
information:
Bottom of wall shown following the proposed finished grade offset at the minimum embed-
ment depth specified

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Chapter 6 Retaining Walls Section 2 Retaining Wall Layouts

The most recent Approved MSE Panel Systems list (Include it in the general notes of the
plan set.)
Appropriate standard sheets pertaining to MSE walls

Concrete Block Walls. For concrete block walls, include the following additional information:
Bottom of wall shown following the proposed finished grade offset at the minimum embed-
ment depth specified
The most recent Approved Concrete Block Retaining Wall Systems list (Include it in the
general notes of the plan set.)
Appropriate standard sheets pertaining to concrete block walls

Tied-Back Walls. For tied-back walls, include the following additional information:
Panel and closure-pour width dimensions
Bottom of wall shown with a level footing elevation, also referred to as having steps. (Distance
from one step to the next is typically greater than 6 in.)

Designate all information necessary for the contractor to construct the wall on retaining wall lay-
outs for tied-back walls. This type of wall does not have a proprietary vendor; however, shop
drawings are required to fully detail the panel schedule to be used on the project and information
regarding proposed anchor length.

Soil/Rock Nailed Walls. For soil or rock nailed walls, include the following additional
information:
Panel width dimensions
Location of expansion and construction joints spaced at intervals not to exceed 90 ft.
Set bottom of wall horizontal and stepped to meet minimum embedment criteria. (Distance
from one step to the next is typically greater than 6 in. Provide bottom of wall elevations for all
panels.)
Estimated quantity for Soil/Rock Nail Anchors
Typical section showing existing or proposed foundations or other obstructions that may inter-
fere with wall construction
Test nail lengths, loads, and bar grade and size

Designate all information necessary for the contractor to construct the wall on retaining wall lay-
outs for nailed walls. This type of wall does not have a proprietary vendor to provide shop
drawings, so the plan set must be complete with details.

Drilled Shaft Walls. For drilled shaft walls, include the following additional information:

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Chapter 6 Retaining Walls Section 2 Retaining Wall Layouts

Set bottom of wall horizontal and stepped to meet minimum embedment criteria
Panel width dimensions
Bottom of wall shown with a level footing elevation, also referred to as having steps. (Distance
from one step to the next is typically greater than 6 in. Provide bottom of wall elevations for all
panels.)
Estimated quantity for Drilled Shaft used on wall (This quantity is broken into specified
shaft diameters.)

Designate all information necessary for the contractor to construct the wall on retaining wall lay-
outs for drilled shaft walls. This type of wall does not have a proprietary vendor to provide shop
drawings, so the plan set must be complete with details.

Temporary MSE Walls. For temporary MSE walls, include the following additional information:
Bottom of wall shown following the proposed finished grade offset at the minimum embed-
ment depth specified
Appropriate standard sheets pertaining to temporary MSE walls

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Chapter 6 Retaining Walls Section 3 Design Considerations

Section 3
Design Considerations

General Design

Design and analyze walls following accepted geotechnical engineering industry standards. In anal-
yses, use earth pressures that follow governing sections of the 17th edition of the AASHTO
Standard Specifications for Highway Bridges. For load conditions or walls that are not specifically
covered by AASHTO, refer to the TxDOT web page for recommendations.

The project engineer must ensure that the retaining wall system is appropriate for its location.
Check walls to ensure minimum factors of safety are met for all potential modes of failure. These
include sliding, overturning, bearing pressure, and global stability. Consult governing wall standard
sheets for assumptions and minimum factors of safety for various modes of failure. The minimum
global factor of safety is set at 1.3.

Avoid perching walls on slopes. When walls must be placed on slopes, conduct both short- and
long-term stability analyses using appropriate soil strengths, geometry, and loading conditions (live
load surcharge, hydrostatic, etc.).

Design Criteria for Specific Wall Types

Spread Footing Walls. The engineer who selects this type of wall for inclusion in the plans is
responsible for overall (global) stability of the wall. Ensure that the actual wall geometry and load-
ing conditions apply to the standard drawing selected. Ensure that interruptions to the stem or
footing steel by utilities or curved sections of walls do not compromise the design and performance
of the wall. Ensure that skewed abutment ends do not pose conflicts with the footprint of the wall.
Provide guidance or structural details when deviations from the wall standard drawings are war-
ranted. Standard drawings provide a choice between high pressure (HP) and low pressure (LP)
footings: selection of the appropriate standard drawing is a function of the loading, geometry, and
allowable soil pressures. Standard drawings are developed based on the design parameters for foun-
dation and retained soils of a cohesion of zero, a friction angle of 30 degrees, and a unit weight of
120 lbs. per cu. ft. Give special consideration to walls subject to inundation. Considerations include
drainage and draw-down stability analysis. Standard specification Item 423 governs the design and
construction of this wall type.

MSE Walls. The engineer who selects this type of wall for inclusion in the plans is responsible for
overall (global) stability of the wall. MSE wall suppliers are responsible only for the internal stabil-
ity of their walls. The RW (MSE) standard drawing is available, utilizing the following design
parameters:
Retained soil a cohesion of zero, a friction angle of 30 degrees, and a unit weight of 125 lbs.

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Chapter 6 Retaining Walls Section 3 Design Considerations

Foundation soil a cohesion of zero, a friction angle of 30 degrees, and a unit weight of 125
lbs.
Select fill a cohesion of zero, a friction angle of 34 degrees, and a unit weight of 125 lbs.

Minimum earth reinforcement is set at 8 ft. To ensure proper performance of the wall in place, eval-
uate project-specific requirements for wall backfill type, wall embedment, wall drainage, conflicts
within the wall reinforced zone, and other considerations as necessary. Give special consideration
to walls that are subject to inundation. Type B backfill is the default backfill for permanent walls.
Type D backfill must be specified for walls that are subject to inundation. Analyze walls subject to
inundation for 3 ft. of draw-down. Walls to be placed in front of bridge abutments should have a
1.5-ft. minimum and 3-ft. desirable clearance from back of wall panel to face of abutment cap to
facilitate wall construction. Standard specification Item 423 governs the design and construction of
this wall type.

Concrete Block Walls. The engineer who selects this type of wall for inclusion in the plans is
responsible for overall (global) stability of the wall. Concrete block wall suppliers are responsible
only for the internal stability of their walls. The RW (CB) standard drawing is available utilizing
the following design parameters:
Retained soil a cohesion of zero, a friction angle of 30 degrees, and a unit weight of 120 lbs.
Foundation soil a cohesion of zero, a friction angle of 30 degrees, and a unit weight of 120
lbs.
Select fill a cohesion of zero, a friction angle of 34 degrees, and a unit weight of 120 lbs.

To ensure proper performance of the wall in place, evaluate project-specific requirements for wall
backfill type, wall embedment, wall drainage, conflicts within the wall reinforced zone, and other
considerations as necessary. Type B backfill is the default for permanent walls. Give special consid-
eration to walls that are subject to inundation. Specify Type D backfill, and analyze these walls for
3 ft. of draw-down. Concrete block walls may be classified as either structural or landscape walls.
The minimum strap length varies depending on the wall function. Consult the standard drawing for
guidance on wall definition. Standard specification Item 423 governs the design and construction of
this wall type.

Tied-Back Walls. The prestressed ground anchors (tie backs) are nearly horizontal elements that
are drilled, grouted, and stressed in place. Determine tied-back loads and soldier pile bending
moments from the apparent earth pressure diagrams. Fill and live load surcharges are included in
the pressure diagram. Determine loads and moments by the tributary area method. The minimum
tie-back length is 25 ft. This length is composed of a minimum 15-ft. debonded length and a mini-
mum 10-ft. bonded length. The ultimate length of tie-back is determined by the wall contractor.
Anchor loads and soil conditions may warrant tied-back anchors on the order of 60 to 70 ft. long.
The anchors are then stressed to the load specified in the construction drawings. Consider the dis-
tance the tie backs will project behind the wall and any potential conflicts with subsurface
obstructions or right of way limitation. Ensure that tie backs have a minimum 6-in. clear cover from

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Chapter 6 Retaining Walls Section 3 Design Considerations

any obstructions. Obtain permanent easements for tie backs that cross the right-of-way line. Con-
sider equipment accessibility due to horizontal and vertical clearance restrictions. Standard
specification Item 423 governs the construction of this wall type and is supported by special speci-
fications Prestressed Ground Anchors and Prefabricated Soil Drainage Mats.

Soil Nailed Walls. Soil nails are nearly horizontal elements that are drilled and grouted in place.
Walls are typically designed using a limit state equilibrium program such as Goldnail or Snail-Z.
Consider the distance the nails will project behind the wall and any potential conflicts with subsur-
face obstruction or right of way limitation.

For permanent walls, use the following minimum criteria:


Hole diameter 6 in.
Bar size #6
Grade 60 ksi for permanent walls
Bars epoxy-coated, Dywidag threadbar, or equivalent

Standard specification Item 423 and the Soil Nail Anchor special specification govern construction
of this wall type and are supported by the special specification Prefabricated Soil Drainage Mat.

Ensure that nails have a minimum 6-in. clear cover from any obstructions. Obtain permanent ease-
ments for nails that cross the right-of-way line. The top of the wall should be no more than 2 ft.
above existing grade to ensure constructibility of the soil nail wall; special design considerations
are required when this distance is exceeded. Nail spacing depends on project-specific site and load-
ing conditions. A 3-ft. to 4.5-ft. vertical spacing and a 3.5-ft. to 5.0-ft. horizontal spacing is typical.
Soil strengths used in the design of soil nail walls are typically determined from correlations of
strength to Texas Cone Penetration values conducted through the embankment to be nailed. Use
ultimate strengths in the analysis. An assumed embankment friction angle of 30 degrees and a
cohesion of zero applies to most nailed embankments. Design walls considering the proposed wall
geometry and loading. Head strength must be limited to avoid a bad design. Unrealistic or high
head strength results in shorter nails and causes the lowest nails to carry a disproportionate amount
of load. In practice, head strength is the variable manipulated to achieve a reasonable distribution of
nail forces and is the capacity of the nail anchorage in the fascia. Manipulate head strength until the
nails in the upper half of the wall carry at least half of the total load. This distribution may not be
possible for very tall walls or walls with near-infinite back slopes. For these cases, you may need to
increase the nail lengths to engage the upper portion of the failure surface to develop a better load
distribution. Final verification on design should include a global check using the analysis mode of
the design program used or an independent slope-stability program that is capable of modeling soil
nail anchors.

Consider equipment accessibility due to horizontal and vertical clearance restrictions.

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Chapter 6 Retaining Walls Section 3 Design Considerations

Rock Nailed Walls. Rock nails are nearly horizontal elements that are drilled and grouted in place.
Rock nailed walls are based on an empirical design approach. Maximum nail spacings are set at 5
ft. vertically and 5 ft. horizontally. Because this is an empirical design, confirm that site conditions
are conducive to this type of design. Rock nail walls are used in materials classified as rock and
have TCP values of 4 in. or less per hundred blows. Consider rock nail walls for rock with TCP val-
ues less than 6 in./100 blows and more than 4 in./100 blows on a case-by-case basis. Shale must be
evaluated for applicability of this wall type because of its tendency to revert to its parent material.
Consider the dip, bedding thickness, Rock Quality Designator, percent recovery, joint spacing, and
joint pattern of the rock formation. Nail lengths may be adjusted to ensure that nailed rock mass is
inherently stable in the primary modes of failure (sliding and overturning).

For permanent walls, use the following minimum criteria:


Nail diameter 4 in.
Tendon size #6
Grade 60 ksi
Bars epoxy-coated, Dywidag threadbar, or equivalent

Standard specification Item 423 and the Rock Nail Anchor special specificate govern construction
of this wall type and are supported by the special specification Prefabricated Soil Drainage Mat.

Consider the distance the rock nails will project behind the wall and any potential conflicts with
subsurface obstructions or right of way limitations. Ensure that nails have a minimum 6-in. clear
cover from any obstructions. Obtain permanent easements for nails that cross the right-of-way line.
The top of wall should be no more than 2 ft. above existing grade to ensure constructibility of the
rock nail wall; special design considerations are required when this distance is exceeded. Consider
equipment accessibility due to horizontal and vertical clearance restrictions.

Drilled Shaft Walls. Drilled


shafts are vertical elements that are drilled and concreted in place. They
vary in size, diameter, and spacing depending on soil conditions, loading, and wall geometry.
Derive wall loading using a Coulomb analysis. Soil information necessary for design includes fric-
tion angle, cohesion, and unit weight. Generally, a cohesion of zero and a friction angle of 30
degrees applies for most soil conditions. Typically, a wall friction angle of 2/3 the friction angle is
used in design. Determine soil strengths below the proposed ground line at face of wall from corre-
lations of strength to Texas Cone Penetration values. Use ultimate strengths in the analysis. The
following soil strength reductions can be used in design:
Reduction based on close shaft spacing (see the following figure)
Reduction of surface soil strength based on expected swelling/softening of the soil

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Chapter 6 Retaining Walls Section 3 Design Considerations

Figure 6-1. Ultimate Load Ratio vs. Clear Spacing/Drilled Shaft Diameter for Various Soil types

Rock is typically modeled as a very stiff clay with a very high cohesion. Design the walls itera-
tively varying length of shaft for successive runs. Make a plot of shaft embedment versus top of
shaft deflection to determine when additional embedment does not result in a reduced deflection.
The minimum embedment length that results in no additional top of shaft deflection is defined as
the depth to fixity. Typically, a final length of shaft is taken as 133% of the embedded length of
shaft to fixity. Maximum tolerable top of shaft deflection is set at 1% of the wall height. The maxi-
mum steel percentage is 2.5% to 3%. Minimum clear spacing between adjacent shafts is set at 1 ft.

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Chapter 6 Retaining Walls Section 3 Design Considerations

Design wall fascia to account for the maximum earth pressure at the bottom of the wall. The load
applied to the fascia should be applied through the window between the shafts assuming simple
supports at the centerline of the shafts. The Contractor is responsible to ensure that face stability is
maintained between shafts throughout construction. This should be addressed by a note in the
plans. Consider equipment accessibility due to horizontal and vertical clearance restrictions. Stan-
dard specification Items 416 and 423 govern construction of this wall type and are supported by
special specification Prefabricated Soil Drainage Mat.

Temporary MSE Wall. The engineer who selects this type of wall for inclusion in the plans is responsi-
ble for overall (global) stability of the wall. Temporary MSE wall suppliers are responsible only for
the internal stability of their walls. The RW (TEW) standard drawings are available based on the
following design parameters:
Retained soil a cohesion of zero, a friction angle of 30 degrees, and a unit weight of 120 lbs.
Foundation soil a cohesion of zero, a friction angle of 30 degrees, and a unit weight of 120
lbs.
Select fill a cohesion of zero, a friction angle of 30 degrees, and a unit weight of 120 lbs.

Minimum earth reinforcement length is set at 6 ft. To ensure proper performance of the wall in
place, evaluate project-specific requirements for wall backfill type, wall embedment, wall drainage,
conflicts within the wall reinforced zone, and other considerations as necessary. Give special con-
sideration to walls that are subject to inundation. Type C backfill is the default backfill for
temporary walls. Specify Type D backfill for walls that are subject to inundation. Analyze walls
subject to inundation for 3 ft. of draw-down. Backfill the 2-ft. zone immediately behind the facing
with clean coarse rock or cement-stabilized backfill. A designer who prefers to use coarse rock or
cement-stabilized backfill must state this in the plan documents. If a temporary MSE wall will be in
service for longer than 3 years, the designer must state this in the plan documents to ensure that the
wall supplier provides a design with an adequate service life. Temporary MSE walls placed adja-
cent to permanent MSE walls must be detailed with earth reinforcement that will prevent corrosion
of the permanent earth reinforcements due to contact of dissimilar metals. This may be accom-
plished by providing galvanized or synthetic earth reinforcements for the temporary MSE walls.

Standard specification Items 403 and 423 govern construction of this wall type.

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Chapter 6 Retaining Walls Section 4 Excavation Support

Section 4
Excavation Support

Overview

An excavation is any human-made cut, cavity, trench, or depression in an earth surface formed by
earth removal. A protection system for an excavation includes support systems, sloping and bench-
ing systems, shield systems, and other systems that provide protection. The two main types of
excavation protection are trench excavation protection (see standard specification Item 402) and
temporary special shoring (see standard specification Item 403).

For either protection system, the Contractor must be compensated for the method of choice. For
example, for temporary special shoring when excavation techniques such as sloped cuts or bench-
ing are used to provide the necessary protection, the surface area of payment is calculated based on
the area described by a vertical plane adjacent to the structure.

Trench Excavation Protection

Trench excavation protection is used for the installation of linear drainage or electrical features that
will result in trenches deeper than 5 ft. It provides vertical or sloped cuts, benches, shields, support
systems, or other systems providing the necessary protection in accordance with Occupational and
Safety Health Administration (OSHA) Standards and Interpretations, 29 CFR 1926, Subpart P,
Excavations.

Temporary Special Shoring

Temporary special shoring is used for installations of walls, footings, and other structures that
require excavations deeper than 5 ft. Temporary special shoring is designed and constructed to hold
the surrounding earth, water, or both out of a work area. It provides vertical or sloped cuts, benches,
shields, support systems, or other systems to provide the necessary protection in accordance with
the approved design.Unless complete details are included in the plans, the Contractor is responsible
for the design of the temporary special shoring. The Contractor must submit details and design cal-
culations bearing the seal of a licensed professional engineer before constructing the shoring. The
design of the shoring must comply with OSHA Standards and Interpretations, 29 CFR 1926, Sub-
part P, Excavations. Design structural systems to comply with AASHTO Standard Specifications
for Highway Bridges or AASHTO LRFD Bridge Design Specifications. Design shoring subject to
railroad loading to comply with railroad Guidelines for Temporary Shoring and any additional
requirements of the railway being supported.

Standard specification Item 403 can be used for both cut and fill shoring. When temporary MSE
walls are used for fill situations, construct these walls in accordance with the requirements of stan-

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Chapter 6 Retaining Walls Section 4 Excavation Support

dard specification Item 423, Retaining Walls, and include the standard sheet RW(TEW). For cut
situations where soil or rock nail walls may be used, include special specifications for the appropri-
ate nailing method and for Prefabricated Soil Drainage Mat. Amend special specifications to
remove pay item reference for the soil/rock nail anchors, making them subsidiary to Item 403.

Consider temporary shoring concurrently with the permanent wall layout and design or grade
change requirements of any given project. The best wall design or project geometry is difficult to
execute and may put both workers and the traveling public at risk if proper shoring requirements
are not addressed. In extreme cases, the cost of temporary shoring required to construct a wall can
exceed the cost of the permanent wall. Avoid this and reduce negative effects with proper planning
and proper wall selection.

Design temporary shoring like a permanent retaining wall. Determine the proper design loading
that will act on the shoring wall. Consider the effect of surcharges or slopes behind the shoring
wall. Due to the impermeable nature of some shoring types such as sheet piling, you may also need
to consider water pressure or additional drainage details in design.

Consider temporary shoring for the following conditions:


At the back of fill-type retaining structures in cut situations
In front of existing structures such as retaining walls, bridge supports, header banks
On projects with staged construction
Near railroads
For bridge footings

Geotechnical Manual 6-14 TxDOT 08/2006


Chapter 7
Slope Stability

Contents:
Section 1 Overview
Section 2 Analysis and Design

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Chapter 7 Slope Stability Section 1 Overview

Section 1
Overview

Overview

All slopes, whether a cut or a fill and whether in soil or in rock, must be evaluated for global stabil-
ity for both short-term (undrained) and long-term (drained) conditions. Specific site conditions may
require evaluation for additional types of failure, such as bearing capacity, settlement, and under-
cutting (for rock cuts).

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Chapter 7 Slope Stability Section 2 Analysis and Design

Section 2
Analysis and Design

Global Stability Analysis

Use the following data to analyze global stability of a slope:


Geometry (cross section and loading conditions)
Location of the water table
Soil/rock stratigraphy
Soil/rock properties (unit, weight, Atterberg Limits, undrained and drained shear strength)

Experience has shown that the Plasticity Index (PI) of the soil is related to the long-term stability of
exposed side slopes. The table below indicates the recommended upper limit on the Plasticity Index
for various slope conditions to maintain a factor of safety of 1.3 for the long-term (drained)
condition.

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Chapter 7 Slope Stability Section 2 Analysis and Design

Geotechnical Manual 7-4 TxDOT 08/2006


Index

Index
D
drilling
site preparation
hole filling 3-3
utility clearance 3-2

F
foundation
selection 5-2
widening structures 5-3

L
log form 4-4
logging
core description 4-2

R
retaining walls
selection 6-2

S
SPT, see standard penetration test

T
TCP, see Texas cone penetrometer test
tests
in-place vane shear test 3-5
standard penetration test 3-5
Texas cone penetrometer test 3-5
Texas cone penetrometer test 3-5

W
widening structures on piling 5-3

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Index

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